Mastering Agile Organizational Design Certification, Mastering Execution for the Public Sector Certification, Strategic Foresight and Scenario-Based Planning, Association for Strategy Planning Exam Preparation, Strategic Planning, Execution and Management, Strategic Foresight and Scenario-Based Planning (Training and Consulting), Good Governance and Board Leadership Development, Strategic Management Blog: From Theory to Practice, Free Strategic Management Competency Assessment. For over 20 years, Harvard ManageMentor® has set the standard for on-demand leadership development. Strategic thinking is the 'what' and 'why' of the planning process. So in our attempt to remain practical and engaged in the “real world” of our clients’ business, we underscore that at its essence, “Strategic Thinking” is a way of viewing challenges and opportunities from a variety of perspectives and altitudes, in order to proffer the very best solutions and directions. Will Online Meetings Become a Whole New Offshoot of Facilitation? The problem is that strategic planning proponents believe that analysis encompasses synthesis; that in the best practice, strategic planning, strategic thinking, and strategy making are synonymous. Type of thinking: Strategic/ intuitive around ideas and people. You want to use a process that gives you a deeper appreciation and understanding of exactly what is needed, at this moment in time. For some, strategic thinking and planning are distinct modes that are both useful at different stages in the strategic management process (e.g., Mintzberg); others posit that strategic thinking is not so much creative as analytical (Porter). What can be done about it? Technology 2. It answers … It is a skill that can be used on a daily basis, on your own or in groups. In working with our clients, we find that most have a relatively strong understanding and appreciation for the value of strategic planning… That's where strategic thinking comes in. Strategic thinking is an essential skill to both short and long-term planning. Strategic thinking without strategic planning/management will cannibalize itself in a quest for structure and process. . She believes facilitation processes, used well, will provide the roadmap to a more just and sustainable world. Strategic planning involves the identification of actions to be taken. Executives need to thoughtfully consider how to create value for customers. Strategic and tactical thinking should go hand-in-hand. Strategic planning activity uses management by plans, whereas strategic management process uses management by results. Type of thinking: Critical and contradictional, Tips: You want to avoid using any “excuses” related to time or money. For a better understanding of what it means, first consider what strategic planning is. Established in 1995, we have ~25 years of experience in every sector and in dozens of countries. However, you have to be aware of new, more promising opportunities. This belief, in turn, rests on the assumptions that prediction is possible and that the strategy-making process can be formalized. While these scholarly discussions are intellectually stimulating, we are left lacking a simple and practical explanation to differentiate between the two. Second, the paper evaluates the strategic management process within It feels truly magical when you have good processes to do this. In other words, about where you would like to be as an organization and how you get there, Dissecting strategic thinking versus strategic planning: Dynamic rather than static; Flexible rather than rigid Tips: You are scanning the internal and external environment for everything you know about the situation. Adopting a strategic mindset is essential for life sciences executives tasked with increasing profits, delighting customers and retaining talent. In reality, though, they are more like two sides of the same coin. 6. It is never about time or money. Finally, during the all-important evaluation and control phase, strategic thinking ensures that an organization is measuring those drivers which best lead to success of the overall mission. Then, you can  systematically devise ways to overcome the root issues and move you closer to the vision with strategic actions. She loves certifying new professional facilitators. 5. Strategic planning is only useful if it supports strategic thinking and leads to strategic management and, even more importantly, execution. Strategic thinking is different from strategic planning. However, strategic planning is useful to help in strategic thinking, strategy development, decision-making, performance improvement, and to build camaraderie (14). On the contrary, strategic management is an action-oriented activity. What’s the difference between the two, you ask? Tips: You are being honest and realistic about your current resources and abilities to rectify or change  a situation. You should also end up with three to four core foci  (strategic goals or directions) that help you make decisions about what to  put your energy into in the future. In this blog, I offer some of my material from a strategic thinking course that I have developed for government leaders as well as material from our learning modules and the key strategic planning model that I use. They  usually all have vision, goals, objectives and action plans. Strategic Thinking applied here would bring up other thoughts about life style changes, nutritional needs, exercise, long term health consequences, how my … When done correctly, strategic planning is not a one-time or annual event. We would say this is not enough to make a plan strategic. Strategic planning/management gives voice, action and structure to strategic thinking. Strategic planning is a process (see above, RE: report that sits on a shelf), while strategic thinking is about vision, intuition, and creativity. Difference between strategic thinking and strategic planning Purpose – The purpose of strategic thinking is to envision or develop a solution. Strategic planning is the process of developing a blueprint for the work you will do against that direction. Flexibility is a critical element of strategic thinking. Strategic planning is the channeling of business insights into an action plan to achieve goals and objectives. When done well, we could say that strategic thinking makes a person more “futures ready;” that is, having an attitude that is comfortable with change, anticipates change, and … Tips: Be as specific as possible. Strategic thinking requires agility and decisiveness in choosing a plan and sticking with it. (Adapted by Barbara MacKay from: Technology of Participation, Herrmann Brain Dominance theory and others). It may also extend to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy.”, A second definition we found was, “A systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them. See also or for training dates around the globe. leverage], Want to not “do things the way they have always been done around here”, Have inaccurate information and/or conclusions, and are able to treat any conclusions as tentative or hypotheses. Stay informed on the latest strategic management insights, leadership development trends and upcoming training programs. Strategic thinking informs strategic planning/management. What’s the Difference between Strategic Thinking and Strategic Planning? Articulating the underlying obstacles. She thinks BIG! Strategic thinking without strategic planning/management will cannibalize itself in a quest for structure and process. Type of thinking: Chronological, preventative, wholistic. A quick Google search reveals that academics have pondered and debated this question since the early 1990’s. It is typically conducted every 3-5 years to help groups grow and continually evolve to address changing needs. Strategic planning models very a lot. Having one without the other can be a recipe for disaster. That said, training and cultivating an organizational culture to think strategically is a vital tool throughout the strategic planning process. 2. Broadening your understanding of the environment. Strategic thinking is more than just “thinking outside the box” . ideas (specific, measurable, accomplishable, realistic, and timely), Here is what Wikipedia says, “Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. Sharpening the Focus on Your Meeting Outcomes. This means looking at root causes or in the Technology of Participation (ToP) model of strategic planning, we call this contradictions to the vision. When you include all the critical steps, incorporate sound processes for strategic planning and have an experienced facilitator guiding you, you will find yourself falling in love with strategic thinking and planning. You can develop it, leverage it or improve it. Group Participation, Facilitator tools, meeting dynamics, aging workforce in some part of the world, underutilized younger workforce in many parts of the world, climate change – strengthening the need for sustainable actions, trend in moving from hierarchical leadership to more facilitative leadership, almost unlimited access to ideas and information around the world, Have a difficult “roadblock” that impedes your ability to meet a goal or a future desired state, Have a group of experts in the room that need to work together to solve a complex problem, Want to focus on the long-term versus the short term, Want to use what you have to maximum advantage [i.e. She loves working with other facilitators around the globe to create transformational results for client groups. You are also being thoughtful around future opportunities and threats. Developing tactics that fall within realm of one of the strategic priorities. But analysis must come first. Overall, strategic thinking is the first building block in operating strategically at all levels of the organization. In contrast to tactical planning (which focuses at achieving narrowly defined interim objectives with predetermined means), strategic planning looks at the wider picture and is flexible in choice of its means.” ( One extremely helpful scholarly overview can be found in the June 1998 volume 31 of Long Range Planning, in a very high-level discussion by Loizos Heracleous entitled “Strategic Thinking or Strategic Planning?”  Heracleous presents a variety of perspectives from business academicians differentiating between the two. ← Bringing Our Whole Selves to the Group – Reflections from Banff IAF, Creating Group Guidelines for Terrific Teamwork →, Move Out of the Boxes in Virtual Meetings. Aim for S.M.A.R.T. Strategic planning, on the other hand, is a continual planning process that relies on strong strategic thinking. Mastering Strategy: Strategic Management Performance System Certification, Strategic Thinking Professional Development, Strategic Planning & Management Consulting Services, ← The 5 Most Important Factors to Successfully Implement Strategy, Slouching Toward Failure: 5 Reasons Organizations Lose Sight of Their Core Values →, The Secret Power of “Community Surveys” to Accelerate Agile Organization Design. This in an excerpt from another interview of BPI by OPR (Organizational Performance Resources) a consortium of performance experts organized by Bill Harshman.. BPI: Once the new strategic vision has been established a plan is developed to realize that vision. During the high-level strategy formation phase, leaders thinking strategically will drive alignment around analyzing the opportunities from the widest possible perspective and understanding. More and more, organizations are learning that past experiences are not always the best basis for developing future strategies. To think strategically means to see and understand the bigger picture of what the organization is, where it needs to go, and how it will get there. Most people experience some fear and/or frustration with strategic planning largely because it is not done in an inclusive way or it fails to address the root issues that the organization is facing. Strategic planning is an application of strategic thinking that involves teams, organizations or communities. Strategic thinking is the process of determining the direction you will take to achieve your vision. Strategic planning is an application of strategic thinking that involves teams, organizations or communities. A key distinction between strategic thinking and strategic planning is that the former occurs on a regular basis, … Why bother with continuing to learn and practice the specifics of strategic thinking and planning? it is also knowing which box to think outside of! You are objectively describing what exists now – both good and bad as though you were an outside neutral observer. Powerfully Resilient Virtual Teams – Lessons from Global IAF Leaders. strategic planning and operational planning to develop business strategies that have a greater chance for success Strategic thinkingis a planning process that applies innovation, strategic planning, and operational planning to develop business strategies that have a greater chance for success. Strategic Thinking. Why bother learning how to think, decide, prioritize and plan more strategically? Strategic thinking is a somewhat complex statement. We offer some great resources at the end of this article. Based on our thinking on strategic thinking above, we would urge you to also consider that strategic is about ensuring you and the group really dig deeply to look at what gets in the way of implementing your vision. At LBL Strategies, we suggest that “strategic planning/management” and “strategic thinking” exist in a symbiotic relationship. The photo on the right is an example of a well worded strategic goal or direction. Strategic thinking must guide the commander’s choices on a daily basis. Borrow or beg “shamelessly” from other people’s “good” ideas or projects elsewhere. Here are just a few global factors which suggest we absolutely need to be more strategic than in the past: Strategic thinking is a combination of many modes of thinking, including analytical, creative, visionary, contradictional, tactical, gut-feeling (intuitive), chronological, holistic, and critical among others. 4. Keep asking yourself “why?”. Likewise, we find that many are hungering for an organizational culture which is bettered trained and more engaged in thinking strategically. The two not only work together…but they require each other. Develop a Learning Culture It is a skill that can be used on a daily basis, on your own or in groups. All Rights Reserved. … strategic thinking relies more on hard data than strategic planning. Both strategic management and strategic planning are keys to business success in any industry, but few know the difference between the two. Strategic planning/management gives voice, action and structure to strategic thinking. We’ve chosen to speak about both because strategic thinking is the foundation for strategic planning. Difference Between Strategic planning vs Strategic management. Tips: You need to be relaxed to be able to think positively about a current bad situation. What are the steps to strategic thinking? Facilitation and Democracy – Can they inform each other? Tips: Aim for both “tried and true” and “bold and new” ideas and actions. Strategic thinking is a style of thinking that – among other things – is concerned about the future. It … She loves teaching others how to do that. With strategic thinking skills, managers and high-potentials are able to better allocate time and resources toward current needs while anticipating and planning for future hurdles as well. 3. Many people conflate these two concepts. To remain competitive, life science organisations must chart a course in a business environment that is in a constant state of flux, andbe prepared to change direction at a moments notice. ToP Strategic Planning in Portland, Oregon(Prerequisite: ToP Facilitation Methods). To be strategic, you must also look at strategic issues or obstacles to the vision. Something went wrong. between strategic planning and strategic thinking and their relationship to strategic management. Notice that the main difference between these definitions is the timing. If you also love what process facilitation can do for the world, connect with her – virtually or in person. Econ… Imagining a different future desired state. A company often goes through a strategic planning process once a year, creating a document that is, in essence, a guidebook for the … Definition – Strategic thinking is a skill. Those decisions must support or help move forward one of more of your strategic goals or directions. Most of us are “getting through” life and work reasonably using our current thinking skills and abilities, experience and knowledge. Strategic thinking is a skill set that can be applied to any complex problem solving process. Strategic thinking is defined as a mental or thinking process applied by an individual in the context of achieving a goal or set of goals in a game or other endeavor. This is a unique piece in the ToP method that we have found to be extremely valuable to organizations and groups. Strategic planning without strategic thinking will digress into a sluggish and lifeless process of setting goals and measuring objectives. Suspend judgement and disbelief. Strategic thinking is a skill set that can be applied to any complex problem solving process. It’s not just a way of thinking what could be, but also a way of seeing what should be. In addition to the marketplace, companies must be ready to respond to changes in: 1. Many strategic plans fail or are abandoned. strategic thinking is regimented and confining, whereas strategic planning is … In working with our clients, we find that most have a relatively strong understanding and appreciation for the value of strategic planning/management. Strategic thinking involves making a series of decisions about what actions the company intends to take to become more successful. Demonstrating strategic thinking, on the other hand, requires that you are simultaneously a marketer, a salesperson, and a change agent. In many respects, it is even more important than strategic planning. Strategic thinking and operational thinking may seem like two separate planes of existence. What’s the Strategic in Strategic Thinking and Planning? It is a process that is often difficult to measure, let alone to monitor. The main difference between strategic thinking and strategic planning is planning doesn’t predict a future state of where the organization wants to be (13). Strategic thinking is different from strategic planning in that: strategic thinking includes all types of information sources while strategic planning does not. Please check your entries and try again. According to a 2009 Harvard Business Review article “Four Fatal Flaws of Strategic Planning,” 88 percent of companies engage in strategic planning, yet few adequately manage their strategies, and even fewer see their goals completely met. You are as accurate as possible about identifying root causes. Systems Thinking in Strategic Planning One of the most useful tools for good strategy analysis is systems thinking. As a cognitive activity, it produces thought.. In his book Fifteen Things Common to Great Achievers, author Israelmore Ayivor shared, “A dream is the frame or portrait or a construction or focus of one’s vision by means of perception, based on what he or she knows and settles within via strategic thinking.” Strategic thinking is different 1. than strategic planning. Type of thinking: Visionary, forward-thinking. During the operational and implementation phase, a strategic thinking organization will ensure that the higher level strategic direction cascades throughout the day-to-day decision making at all levels. Brainstorming strategic priorities/options. There is even confusion among business and management experts. The strategic planning is an analytical activity because it is related to the thinking. © 2018 North Star Facilitators. Some common scenarios that lead people to the need for strategic planning include: What are the steps to strategic planning? Strategic planning is a process of analysis and declaration, usually used by companies to focus their goals and directives. She loves presenting at global facilitator conferences.

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